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TFS senior cross country runner qualifies for state competition



Tallulah Falls School varsity cross country teams finished the 2017 season with a state qualifier at the Regional 8-A/Area 2-A Private cross country meet held Oct. 26 at Athens Christian School.

Team captain Perry Gresham, a senior from Clarkesville, though ranked eighth in Region 8-A/Area 2-A and 20 seconds away from the coveted top six and state-bound places, passed two opponents in the second loop of the course to place fifth. Gresham advances to the State Championships in Carrollton on Nov. 3.

Gresham is the first TFS female harrier to earn a state berth in more than two decades, according to Athletic Director Scott Neal.

“Perry ran an intelligent race, utilizing specific strategies of surging, drafting, cresting fast and arm speed changes at certain points along the course to strengthen her quest to state,” Neal said. “Watching her race epitomized everything the TFS cross country program seeks in competing, ownership, strategy, heart and GREAT performance!”

Joining Gresham in scoring 143 points to place fifth as a team  – only 11 points away from advancing to state – were sophomore Sophie Alexander of Sautee-Nacoochee, freshman Maria Whitson of Alto (personal record), senior Sarah Catherine Fordham of Cornelia and junior Katherine Chen of China. Sophomore Sarah Edwards (PR) and sophomore Laurel Smith iof Clayton were the No. 6 and No. 7 TFS runners, respectively.

TFS boys finished sixth of 11 schools with 146 points, 21 points away from advancing to Carrollton. Sophomore Chris Geiger of Sautee-Nacoochee placed 16th of 78 varsity runners, followed by junior Aaron Hughes of Demorest (22nd) and the trio of junior Zac Smith of Longboat Key, Florida and Clarkesville, junior Caleb Griffis of Martin (PR time of 19:25.11) and freshman Grey Bourlet of Tallulah Falls finished one after another in 35th, 36th and 37th. Freshman Chathan Clouatre of Toccoa (45th) and junior Will Jackson of Clarkesville (51st - PR) rounded out the top seven Indian harriers.

Senior Ben Griswold of Demorest ran his best race ever by placing 36th of 141 JV runners in a time of 22:02.35.  Freshman Shepherd Roland of Tallulah Falls, sophomore Matthew Justice of Tiger, sophomore David Cheng of China and freshman Collin Kelly of Demorest led TFS to a fifth-place JV team place. Junior Randy Shi of China ran a PR.

“The weather was sunny, cool and conducive to running well in a highly competitive atmosphere on a fan-friendly course,” Neal said. “I was impressed that Zac, Caleb and Grey didn’t let someone slip between their places and was so proud of how Ben finished his high school running career.”

TFS results:

Full results:

Photos of Gresham finishing: